Connecting to the RTL - instructions for Windows users

Connecting to the RTL is a two-stage process. First you need to connect to the VPN, then you are able to connect to the RTL.

Connect to the VPN using AnyConnect

Step 1

Double click on the desktop Cisco VPN icon, or open it using Finder: Applications->Cisco->Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.

If there is no "Cisco Anyconnect" icon on your desktop, use Spotlight to find and start the application: press COMMAND-SPACE or click on magnifying glass in upper right corner, then type AnyConnect in search box, then click on "Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client". If AnyConnect application is already loaded, you can click its green dumbbell icon on top menu bar (note added gold lock when connected).

Note that the old version 2 "Cisco Anyconnect VPN Client" has a green dumbbell icon while the current version 3 "Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility" has a white circle icon with 2 green arcs.

Under Windows 10, the search box is still in the lower left corner, now called “Cortana”.

Step 2

Make sure that the server name to the left of [Connect] is: access.popdata.bc.ca

Step 3

The first time you connect, you could click on the gear icon in the lower left corner of the AnyConnect box, and uncheck the option “Minimize AnyConnect on VPN connect”, then close the preferences box.

Step 4

For “Group” select “rtl”. Enter your PopData username and password.

Step 5

If you did not change the preference item “minimize” above, the VPN window disappears when you are successfully connected. There will be a little lock icon in the bottom notification area on the taskbar, in the lower right corner.

Connect through VPN to the RTL using the Remote Desktop

Step 1

Check available RTL server numbers. Currently available servers are listed at: https://my.popdata.bc.ca/rtl/available 

Step 2

Start ‘Remote Desktop’.
If you do not already have a shortcut on your desktop, the remote desktop is located under either:

  • Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Communications -> Remote Desktop Connection       or
  • Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Remote Desktop Connection

Step 3

Enter the name of one of the RTL servers (rtl1,rtl2,etc.).

If a message appears about "can't find computer" , your system may be one of those that prefers the long "fully-qualified" name for the remote computer: append ".popdata.bc.ca" (ex:rtl5.popdata.bc.ca).

Step 4

Login to selected RTL server with your project-specific username and password.

Initially RDC offers its best guess for credentials (based on your local workstation), and usually decorates that guess with a orange daisy icon.  For most people this guess will be wrong, and you need to click on “Use another account” to make the text entry boxes “User name” and “password” available. 

A fully-qualified Windows username starts with prefix domain “POPDATA” followed by backslash “\” followed by your username. 

Upon connecting, after entering your password, a complaint may pop up "The identity of the remote computer cannot be verified" ; please click "Yes" to bypass this message. While the PopData VPN is connected, there is minimal risk of connecting to a bad machine in the RTL, so you can ignore this warning.

Logging out

When you are done, make sure you LOG OUT.

Failure to log out (for example just closing the RDC window) blocks other researchers from accessing this RTL machine.

Under Windows 10, the logout (Sign out) menu can be found next to the Cortana search box, its icon is a head-and-shoulders figure (an “o” above an inverted “U”).

Disconnecting from VPN after disconnecting from SRTL Remote Desktop

You may prefer to disconnect "Cisco AnyConnect" whenever you stop your connection to the RTL. Click on AnyConnect icon or status window; click disconnect.

The PopData VPN connection does not interfere with your access to other parts of the Internet, including local computers around you, with two exceptions: DNS name resolution service is redirected to the PopData name-server (so connections to short names like "rtl4" go to "rtl4.popdata.bc.ca"), and connections from your computer to private PopData networks (under 10.50 and 10.80) are routed through VPN server access.popdata.bc.ca. There is a small chance that these two features may interfere with your access to other computers near you.